The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: May 18, 2008 - May 24, 2008

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The Toronto Dodgers?

May 24, 1958

By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

1958_0524_sports A day after saying Los Angeles could lose the Dodgers if voters don't back a plan to build a stadium in Chavez Ravine, National League President Warren Giles turned politician. He played both sides of the fence.

Giles insisted to a Times reporter that he wasn't threatening Los Angeles or making an ultimatum when he suggested that a defeat of Prop. B in the June 3 election would mean National League owners would work to find the Dodgers a new city. Preferably one that wanted to build a new stadium.

"All I am doing is stating the facts," Giles told The Times' Frank Finch. "I am not presumptuous enough to indicate how the citizens of Los Angeles should vote."

Of course not.

In the same story, Giles said there would be no difficulty in finding a new city for the Dodgers to call home. He wouldn't get specific, but the story mentioned Minneapolis, Houston and Toronto as prospects.

Meanwhile, the issue seemed to bring out the best in two of Los Angeles' best quotes, Mayor Norris Poulson and City Councilman Patrick McGee.

"Los Angeles would be the laughingstock of the nation if we went back on our word," said Poulson. And in the other corner, here's McGee: "Giles' threat is an insult to the intelligence of the people of the city of Los Angeles."

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May 24, 1938






His name was Dwight Tyler Simpson, a 32-year-old business student from Laconia, N.H. 1938_0524_simpson
Not an enemy in the world, apparently, except for somebody who broke a milk bottle on his skull and strangled him.

Dwight had been living at 747 S. New Hampshire, a 24-unit apartment built in 1921. The assistant manager and the houseboy noticed his door was open and found him next to the bed with pieces of the broken milk bottle in the bed and on the floor.

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Police found two glasses and a nearly empty liquor bottle in the kitchen. His wallet and car were missing. There was blood on the clothing in Dwight's closet and a bloody towel in the bathroom.

An 18-year-old named Joaquin Lopez says that at 11 on the night before the killing, Dwight called to say he found Joaquin's wallet on the beach in Santa Monica, fixing the time of death between 11 p.m. and noon the next day. 

The only other clue is that Dwight told people that he was expecting a visit from a friend who worked as a sailor on a ship traveling between Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Dwight's car eventually turned up near his apartment and police took some fingerprints. "It's our best hope for a solution of the crime," Police Capt. Bert Wallis said. The killing was apparently never solved.

Also on the cover, the Earle Kynette trial continues.

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May 24, 1908




Above, 16 people are injured at a balloon ascension in Berkeley when the gas bag ruptures at an altitude of 300 feet and the airship plunges to earth. The hydrogen gas bag, made of cotton treated with kerosene oil, was 450 feet long, 36 feet in diameter and the ship was powered by five auto engines, The Times says. (This was an enormous aircraft, twice the length of a 747, which has a fuselage 225 feet long).

The victims include the inventor, John A. Morrell, and several photographers. 

Unfortunately, The Times never says what became of Morrell except that he was charged with obtaining money under false pretenses.

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The comics


A panel from "Buster Brown," May 24, 1908.

Home of the week

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690 S. Burlington, Los Angeles, Calif.



Above, still standing after more than a century, a few blocks east of MacArthur Park. This home in Pico Heights once belonged to H.R. Lacy, The Times says.

According to Property Shark, the neighborhood is 70% Hispanic and Latino, 34% white, 20% Asian, 3% black or African American and 37% "others." (Yes, this adds up to more than 100%. Welcome to L.A.)

45% of the people in this neighborhood are citizens and 4% speak English, Property Shark says.

And there are 73 registered sex offenders living in this ZIP Code (90057), according to the Department of Justice

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One-minute nostalgia

Hypnotic, isn't it?

Chavez Ravine

May 23, 1958

By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

1958_0523_sports A heavy hitter joined the political fight over a new stadium for the Dodgers.

Warren Giles, president of the National League, warned that the Dodgers could be forced to leave Los Angeles if voters turned down Proposition B on the June 3 ballot.  At issue was the contract already agreed upon by the city and the Dodgers to build a stadium at Chavez Ravine.

“It will be my personal recommendation to our league that we take immediate steps to study ways and means of relocating the franchise in another city,” Giles said.

Giles said the league wanted to keep the team in Los Angeles but that the Coliseum was only a short-term answer. Playing in a suburban location like Pasadena’s Rose Bowl wouldn’t do, either.

The story was played big in The Times, with separate accounts on the front page of the main news section and in sports.

Dodger owner Walter O’Malley sounded worried. “The Dodgers want to stay out of politics and we wish politics were not involved in baseball at this time,” O’Malley told The Times’ Al Wolf. “We have our hands full with many problems on and off the field. This presents another.”

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May 23, 1938

It's another slow day in the trial of Police Capt. Earle Kynette in the Harry Raymond bombing ... In the meantime, let's take a look at former police investigator Fletcher E. Felts, whose father was one of the longest-serving officers in the department. Felts kills a police detective lieutenant with a Luger after an argument on a streetcar.  He says he had a brain operation a year before and doesn't recall the shooting, explaining that "I wouldn't harm a dog." He's judged insane and sent to Camarillo.

Bonus fact: Felts once served with Raymond as a police investigator.

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May 23, 1908


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Hollywood gets a new church, above.  (At left, Hollywood Presbyterian today.)
The northwest corner of 8th Street and Broadway (at right) sells for $234,000 ($5,144, 969.35 USD 2007) ...

Below left, sake is banned because it's impure ... The auction of a young Chinese bride (note the use of the term "Celestial")  ... A teamster is thrown into a gutter on Main Street when the team pulling his wagon becomes frightened and runs away ... A mother-daughter suicide pact ... And a car runs down a newsboy on a bicycle at 1st and Broadway and doesn't even stop.   

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Radio dial

May 11, 1958


Here's a Dick Whittinghill jingle on KMPC-AM's website.

May 22, 1958


Above, a stripteuse brings a lawsuit alleging botched plastic surgery -- on her neck. As if you can see her neck in this photo.

At left, it's divorce No. 2 for Jack Webb, this time from actress Dorothy Towne ... Mourners bid farewell to Ronald Colman, who receives a 14-minute service at All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito, Calif. ... And we have a visually stunning map of commuting times in Los Angeles. Must be the influence of rock 'n' roll on L.A. radio stations. Because of the new freeways, downtown is within a 30-minute drive anywhere in Los Angeles County -- at least in off hours, The Times says.

May 8, 1958: Disc jockey Alan Freed is charged with "inciting the unlawful destruction of property" during a riot that broke out at a rock 'n' roll concert at the Boston Arena. 

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May 22, 1938



Above, a plan for the Santa Anita Motor Inn at 101 W. Huntington. Apparently, the final design of the tower was a little more Art Deco (see the postcard here).

At left, a miner leads detectives to the body of Leona Schmidt, 59, which was buried in the desert between Gorman and Lancaster. Schmidt's son-in-law Valean Neil Ross is being held on charges of killing her March 9 in an argument over whether an operation -- which Schmidt refused to pay for -- would have saved the life of his wife.

And France says that it will go to war if Germany invades Czechoslovakia.

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